Historian Ken Burns reminded supporters of the Confederacy on Sunday that the Civil War had been primarily about slavery, and not states’ rights as many conservatives have claimed.
“You know, when the Constitutional Convention happened, there was a man named John J. Chapman, who said slavery was like a sleeping serpent,” Burns told CBS host John Dickerson. “It lay coiled under the table during the deliberations; thereafter, slavery was on everyone’s mind, if not always on his tongue.”
“You know, we’ve grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture that would be ‘Birth of a Nation,’ D.W. Griffiths’ classic, and ‘Gone with the Wind,’ of course,” he explained. “And in that, it postulates, among other things, both films, that the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So it’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened, oh, it’s about states’ rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South.”
But Burns recommended that Americans read South Carolina’s Articles of Secession to get the real story on why the states went to war against each other.
“[T]hey do not mention states’ rights. They mention slavery, slavery, slavery,” he pointed out. “And that we have to remember. It is much more complicated than that, but essentially the reason why we murdered each other — more than 2 percent of our population, 750,000 Americans died; that’s more than all the wars from the Revolution through Afghanistan combined — was over essentially the issue of slavery.”
According to Burns, the racism running through the DNA of America was still present in modern day politics.
“The main American theme, I think, is freedom,” he noted. “But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn’t free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race.”
“And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we’re in some post-racial society,” he continued. “And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He’s ‘other,’ he’s different.”
“What’s actually ‘other’ and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing. It’s the color of his skin.”
Watch the video below from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast August 23, 2015.
‘America is running away like rats’: Watch angry Kurds blame US troops for dead babies as they withdraw
The Associated Press obtained video of Kurds pelting American military vehicles with fruit as they withdrew from Syria.
The video was first captured by a Kurdish news agency, the AP said in a report on Monday.
“Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic. Another shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held Syria who had died in the Turkish offensive.
The scene encapsulated the Kurds’ feelings of betrayal and added a new indignity to a US withdrawal that has been rushed and involved several close brushes with Turkish-backed forces.
WATCH: White House protesters chant ‘impeach Trump’ loud enough for aides to hear
Protesters gathered in front of the White House on Sunday to call on President Donald Trump to be removed from office.
Videos circulated online showed protesters chanting "impeach Trump" close enough to the White House for staff to hear the demonstration.
In other videos, protesters were blowing loud whistles.
Meanwhile, demonstrators also greeted Trump as he visited his New Jersey golf course. Pro-impeachment protesters were also reportedly out on the streets in Boston and New York City.
Watch some of the video clips below.
Outside the White House right now:
White House urged diplomats to stay quiet about withheld aid to Ukraine: ‘Nothing to see here’
As Democrats proceed with impeachment, there are explosive new revelations almost daily related to President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that top diplomats were instructed to keep quiet about the temporary freeze on the $141 million package of aid to Ukraine.
“Keep moving, people, nothing to see here,” Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary of Europe and Eurasia, said in an email.